Rep. Connolly: State Dept. Budget Cuts Partly to Blame for 9/11 Libya Attack

September 24, 2012 - 12:02 PM

Rep. Gerry Connolly

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) (Photo: Connolly Web site)

(CNSNews.com) - A Democratic congressman from Northern Virginia claims Congress is partly to blame for the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya..

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), in an interview with Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP on Monday, stood by comments he made that Congress deserves some of the blame for the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others because it failed to give President Obama all the money he had requested for embassy security – and had cut the State Department’s  budget overall.

Here is a transcript of Connolly's comments:

WTOP Radio: Right after this incident happened in Libya, I heard you say, quickly, that some of the blame needs to be laid at Congress’s feet for because they cut the funding,

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va): Absolutely, Congress in the last few years, especially has consistently cut President Obama’s request for security for our embassies and consulates overseas. And it has also consistently cut the overall budget for the State Department, and I think that's a contributing factor to slowing down our ability to sort of harden and fortify embassies and other facilities abroad so they are as safe as they can be.

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On Sept. 11, in what the Obama administration now says was a “terrorist attack,” the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and a nearby safe house were attacked and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other embassy personnel were killed

On Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice confirmed to ABC News reporter Jake Tapper that there that there were no Marines stationed at the consulate or at the main U.S. embassy in Tripoli, despite the fact that Libya was in political transition after a revolt that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

Rep. Connolly represents sprawling Fairfax County, Va., which is part of the suburban Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.